[SOURCE: Article originally written by Kacie Rattigan, Press of Atlantic City]
Monique St. John lost her husband, Sean Patrick Dougherty, ten years ago from heart issues and, ultimately, Sudden Cardiac Arrest. She was looking to do something to honor his legacy when she connected with Aidan’s Heart Foundation and Christy Marshall-Silva. The result was a partnership with Cape May Officials to add life-saving equipment to the City.
In 2011, Aidan’s Heart Foundation began after Christy’s 7-year-old son, Aidan, died from Sudden Cardiac Arrest, with no history of heart issues or warning signs. Learning that 9,000 youth die from SCA each year, and that the chances of survival for a victim of SCA are less than 5%, Christy founded Aidan’s Heart Foundation to better protect the hearts of youth.
When Monique and Christy connected, they learned that their loved ones had a lot in common, including a love for the City of Cape May. In honor of Aidan and Sean, they decided to donate an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the community as a special way to give back and help keep Cape May heart-safe. An AED is instrumental (along with calling 911) in responding to a sudden cardiac emergency.
Firefighter David Jackson of the Cape May Fire Department worked directly with Monique and Christy to coordinate an AED installation at the Cove Beach, a place most loved by Aidan and Sean. This location is popular with many beachgoers, people exercising, and visitors to the area. The placement at the Cove Pavilion made sense to ensure accessibility to the public. Firefighter Jackson and Superintendent of Public Works, Eric Prusinski, worked together to install the new AED on the beachfront. Additionally, three City-owned AEDs that were located inside buildings along the Washington Street Mall have also been relocated outdoors for better visibility to anyone in need. The outdoor AED cabinets were also donated by Aidan’s Heart Foundation through the generosity of donors.
Jim Schatzle and Paul Logan of Team Life, Inc. aided in the procurement and delivery of the AED donated by Aidan’s Heart Foundation. The company trains people how to respond to critical situations, including cardiac arrest and other first-aid emergencies. “Every minute without CPR and an AED being applied to the person in Sudden Cardiac Arrest, survival decreases by 10%. The average response time for EMS in America is 8 – 12 minutes. Therefore, we are so grateful to be part of this AED donation by Aidan’s Heart Foundation. The placement of this AED (at Cove Beach) makes Cape May even more heart-safe.”